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If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday. ~Pearl Buck

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kivandopulus
The masterpieces of the year 1986:
1. 
Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu ~Rinne Tensei Hen~
2. Wingman 2: Kitakura no Fukkatsu
3. Boukenshatachi Kenja no Yuigon
4. Alpha
5. Hokuto no Ken: Violence Gekiga Adventure
6. J.B. Harold no Jikenbo #1 - Final Mystery - Murder Club
7. Casablanca ni Ai o Satsujinsha wa Jikuu o Koete
8. Gall Force - Eternal Story
9. Maison Ikkoku ~Omoide no Photograph~
10. Suishou no Dragon
11. Little Princess
12. Toki no Tabibito
13. 1000-nen Oukoku

There's actually a harsh competition here, but no obvious winner at the same time. I don't want to nominate NES titles, because this platform is not really suitable for the genre. Maison Ikkoku was nominated by me previously, but in the long run it's a NES game again and it's not particularly entertaining. Wingman 2 and Little Princess are way too short. J.B.Harold is a detective genre that I can't stand. Casablanca does not have a normal release. Boukenshatachi is mostly a parody with some jokes difficult to understand already and text parser ruins it all. But I was really shocked by production values of Gall Force - Eternal Story. It has pure command selection gameplay, really nice dialogues, lots of CG and plenty of action scenes as well as worthy sound support. That's what VNs should be like and that's why it's the VN f the Year 1986!
 
1. Final Lolita ファイナル ロリータ [8601] PSK 1
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Final Lolita has little to do with PSK's previous similarly-named titles gameplay-wise; however, it shares with them the macabre premise of sex with underage girls, and is the most explicit and violent of the three. The game's genre is closest to RPG format, since it focuses on a character's attributes and allows the player to increase them. These attributes are Power, Arm Level, Defence, and Technique, each playing a role in upcoming battles. The player can choose to distribute a hundred points among these parameters in the beginning of the game.
We get to set four parameters from the beginning and start the search. Just walking alone spends your precious power, so first of all gasoline and bike need to be found. It's indeed the final loli work of PSK - next ones feature more mature characters.
 
2. Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu ~Rinne Tensei Hen~ 白と黒の伝説 ~輪廻転生編~ [8603] Soft Studio Wing 1
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The second part of the "Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu" tells the story of the victims of the Bermuda Triangle, which was pulled into the distant past. To get back to their world, the crew of the ship will visit the ruins of Atlantis, medieval Europe, ancient Japan, and fight demons.
Again, MSX exclusive and again pretty obscure. This time even more since this work does not seem to be remastered in the future. The game system is the same. One drawback of it is that in order to save there's a need to shift cassettes. The work is memorable for its music that occupied a full cassette. The story is very intriguing. An anomaly is found in the Bermuda triangle and UN mission is sent there. As a result the Atlantis land is discovered that drifts through the time with the power of demons. We get to execute a number of missions through the time to resolve this anomaly like the hundred year old war in France (meeting Jeanne d'Arc, of course) or the end of the Warring States period in Japan. This game is quite crazy and that's a pity it's forgotten.
 
3. Wingman 2: Kitakura no Fukkatsu ウイングマン2 - キータクラーの復活- [860410] TamTam Co., Ltd.
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The aim of the game is to find the killers sent from Podrimus dimension and neutralize them. The clues are to be found in the eight locations of the school.
Original story. This time it's more fun since we're accompanied by Aoi or Miki who do all the feedback. It's a pretty cool system that it's enough to write the proper verb and just click on the object - that's almost point-and-click here! There are three chapters with first two moving between the same eight places and the third final one without any moving. In the prequel the fights were happening on a narrow black line with two small characters - this time there is a full battle screen and animation is much better. The scene of transformation to wingman was especially impressive since it has "Ching!" real voice cry coming out and there have not been voiced games yet. There seems to be only two battles in the game though compared to four in the original. So with only 8 locations and two battles the game is really short and a perfect run can be done in 10 minutes if know the exploration part already.
 
4. Arion アリオン [8604] ASCII Corporation
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Game follows the story of anime with the same title.
In Thrace, Arion is taken from his mother Demeter by the god Hades. In the Underworld, Arion is trained to be a warrior. His training is driven by revenge: Arion was told that his mother's blindness was caused by Zeus and Zeus' death will remove the curse. Finally, Arion and Geedo (a huge ape-like creature who had become Arion's friend and companion) left the Underworld to find Zeus. Seneca, a small thief, makes off with Arion's sword and this leads Arion to his first encounter with the forces of Zeus, commanded by his daughter Athena. Arion is captured but is later set free by Lesfeena, Athena's mute serving girl. As Arion rejoins Geedo and Seneca (and worries about Lesfeena), the forces of Zeus and Poseidon face each other in battle. In the background sits the scheming Hades, and the calm Apollon who seems to have plans of his own.
Game has very beautiful graphics since the real scenes from the anime are digitized and used as CG. Command selection is used. There are battles with commands and hp bar, but the result depends on luck and it's not unusual to lose to average even though you're an ultimate assassin god with superior weapons. The story is about Greek mythology and is quite specific - it's actually easy to get stuck without knowing the contents of the OVA. Sometimes you need to not do anything at a certain map in order for a new opportunity open up elsewhere.
 
5. Galppo Club ギャルっぽクラブ [8604] Micro Cabin
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You are a teenager in glasses and with 450,000 yen in the pocket at the center of entertainment part. There are a lot of girls around to get to know.
The systems of the game are quite peculiar. There are 9 squares you can move around. There are random and not random encounters with girls. There are also lots of stats that deteriorate with certain actions like fighting. The rules are actually quite difficult and need lots of dedication to get to know. Game seems to be influenced by Tokyo Nampa street.
 
6. Boukenshatachi Kenja no Yuigon 冒険者達 賢者の遺言 [860523] ASCII Corporation
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Chinese style gag-comedy. You train in the mountains with your master. One day a mysterious stranger hands over a golden a key. And so the adventure starts...
Game symbolizes transition period between text parser and command selection. You start writing a verb, find the needed command in the list and then set it to function key and can use it from there later on. There are over 100 CG here and most of them are really funny, so the gags must be alright. There are some nude images and you can just undress yourself and walk like that - haha - but don't expect for anyone to talk to you while you're like that.
 
7. Alpha アルファ [8605] Square Co. 1 2 3 4 5 6
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Once the natural resources on the Earth were exhausted, mankind started to look up for the next world to go to. Now their destination is a planet in the system of Epsilon Eridani - a star 10.7 light years away. As no means for faster than light travel or frozen hibernation exists, many generations of people will live and die on the ship "Daedalus", before it reaches its target...
There's enough of English information on the game, including English reviews. Great characters and graphics are alone enough for it to be a masterpiece.
 
8. Hokuto no Ken: Violence Gekiga Adventure 北斗の拳 バイオレンス劇画アドベンチャー [8605] Enix 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
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Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the story follows a man named Kenshiro - successor to the deadly martial art known as Hokuto Shinken . Kenshiro travels the world fighting ravagers and rival martial artists, whilst also protecting the innocent and weak. The game covers the first arc of the story, where Kenshiro goes up against his old rival Shin.
I was really astonished by the quantity of information in English on this game. This seems to be the beginning of fighting franchise that really stirs people's minds even today.
 
9. Cosmo Angel コスモエンジェル [8606] PSK 1
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In the year 2888 an interstellar organization named Gammos began to terrorize space. Using a powerful new weapon known as GRAY-Q, Gammos launched an unprecedented assault on the headquarters of the Galactic Federation. The special government squad Cosmo Angel was assigned to infiltrate the Gammos base and destroy GRAY-Q. The agents in charge are a young woman named Lina and her ex-boyfriend Akira.
A new PSK game and finally not about lolis... Or wait... is it? Lolis fighting in space? For realz, PSK? The story is quite absurdist and is made just to present cool SF nude pictures as I see it. Just as other PSK works, it's still the same text parser without any development.
 
10. Day Dream デイドリーム [8607] Cross Media Soft
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The theme is visit of aliens. There are three scenarios to choose from: "driver", "policeman", "pilot".
Depending on the scenario chosen the story starts from different points, but the fabula is the same - you get restrained by the aliens in some room and need to get out of there. Otherwise there's no novelty - a very slow drawing speed combined with text parser.
 
11. Erika エリカ [8607] JAST
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Near future. The unknown black shadow enemy is planning to conquer the Earth. Erika is a special agent on a mission to investigate enemy's new weapon Spectron. Protagonist is an information agent that gets into contact with Erika to receive information from her. Together they must infiltrate enemy base and destroy the secret weapon.
So JAST abandoned its Aftrernoon Angels series for the serious SF action? Not really. The game is mostly about Erika H scenes both with hero and enemies and there's not that much adventuring compared. The system is the same as in Afternoon Angels - command selection out of big list of commands.
 
12. Seijo Densetsu -Five Holy Girls- 聖女伝説 -Five Holy Girls- [8607] Studio Blue
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The hero is a detective who chases the mysterious criminal girl Remy who is rumored to have stolen the treasure "GOLD LADY". In the game you get to interrogate girls one by one with the aim to get information about Remy.
That's a pretty lame synopsis, but anything really goes for a nukige. There are five chapters each for a new girl and the sixth chapter finalizes the deed. Game is pretty disgusting since pretty much all the time is spent on interrogating the girls and there's nothing "saint" or "holy" in it.
 
13. 1000-nen Oukoku 1000年王国 [8608] LOG 1 2
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The prophet Nostradamus has foreseen that the world as we know it shall end in the year 1999, and the thousand-year kingdom of angels and children will commence. A young boy named Shou is at first unaware of these prophecies, enjoying a normal life with his sweetheart Alisa. However, a series of events changes his life forever, as he is entrusted with the task of saving humans by discovering the ancient continent of Atlantis.
There's a good big walkthrough in English and mobygames article on top of that.
 
14. Five Sweet Dream ファイブスイートドリーム [8608] Great
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There are five rooms and you are to fulfill the wishes spoken aloud there.
This piece of software is quite close to the Five Holy Girls. Same number five, same doing H to five girls, same troublesome and long process. The company actually had to take all the extreme scenes out of it and publish them separately.
 
15. J.B. Harold no Jikenbo #1 - Final Mystery - Murder Club J.B.ハロルドの事件簿 - 殺人倶楽部 [8608] Riverhill Soft inc. 1 2 3 4 5 6
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A horrible murder has taken place in the sleepy little town of Liberty. Bill Robbins, a wealthy man known for his wild womanizing ways is the victim and, list of possible suspects keeps growing. As J.B. Harold you must figure out the who, what, where and why of the case. To solve the mystery you will need to travel to various locations, interview people and search for clues.
Game was localized in English and sold over 20 millions copies in the West, so it has a great press coverage. I only list here five of the more conventional sources.
 
16. Casablanca ni Ai o Satsujinsha wa Jikuu o Koete カサブランカに愛を 殺人者は時空を越えて [8610] Thinking Rabbit 1
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June 1945. Chicago newspaper female reporter Jerry Randolph gets a letter from missing school friend saying that friend's father Mr. Edgar was conducting a dangerous scientific research. Jerry hurries to that adress only to find out that Mr. Edgar is stabbed and the research is a time machine. Jerry undertakes a time travel to year 1916 to get to the root of mystery.
Quite an ok nostalgic SF mystery story, but it's stuffed with the same text parser so feels ancient while everyone else already shifted to command selection. The colored X68000 version actually uses command selection formula and colored screens, but misses much of the charm of the original version along with the cool original character designs. It still can be called a masterpiece.
 
17. Christine クリスチーヌ [8610] PSK 1 2 3
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A young girl was enjoying a happy life with her boyfriend when suddenly, out of nowhere, a powerful spell was cast and the poor boy was turned into stone. A sorceress named Christine appears and says that another sorceress called Jane was the culprit. The young heroine must find a way to defeat Jane and revert her boyfriend to normal.
There are two English reviews of the game (from the same person, but for different versions and are somewhat different).
 
18. Kudokikata Oshiemasu 口説き方教えます [8610] Hard
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Nampa game with CG reward for the right answers in dialogue for each girl.
The game does not really leave any doubts of its content with nude images showing up twice during first couple minutes of the game. So each girls needs her own approach and you can use hits to try to guess her likes. If you still fail, you just move on to the next girl. Thus is the title - Please teach me how to speak.
 
19. Nichiyoubi ni Uchuujin ga…? 日曜日に宇宙人が…? [8610] Soft Studio Wing
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Absurd story based on a novel. A reporter and photographer are sent 20 years back in time with the help of mad scientist to write a special article. That brought attention of aliens who attacked from Andromeda.
Soft Studio Wing again which means that the game is MSX exclusive again and is difficult to find. The development is quite absurt, but the commands set are fairly usual. The text drawing speed has increased significantly since the Legend of White and Black. The difficulty level is reported to be moderate and the progress quite fun.
 
20. Dead Zone デッド ゾーン [861120] Sunsoft 1 2 3 4
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In the space calendar 0385, the Earth suffers from overpopulation and humans started to build space colonies. Kirk, the protagonist of Dead Zone, works for the Earth federation's space development office. He is a brilliant engineer in space physics and he is working for Sirius third planet colony. He also got engaged with his beloved girlfriend Marry, but they had to postpone their wedding. Five months later, Kirk, accompanied with his robot Carry, decides to meet Marry at last, and prepare the ceremony. But when he arrives at the space station, everything is quiet. Then a beam of light hits him. He wakes up sometimes later, inside a sort of underground graveyard.
The game was released for NES and thus it's more familiar for the Western auditory than pc88 counterparts. There are some English reviews on the game.
 
21. Cinderella Perudue シンデレラ ペルデュー [8611] STUDIO ANGEL
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The hero gets a strange message from communication club "BC" one day. In the encounter with five girls he needs to get the information to decipher the message.
Five holy girls, then five sweet dream and now five Cinderellas. This time there's at least normal gameplay. You have time limit, 45,000 yen and the girls in the town to talk to. This is an actual talk, not an interrogation with torture, but there are enough H events in the game anyway. There is no explanation of the title in the game - the best I can think of is that we're give time limit (24 hours) to settle the deal as well.
 
22. Golques ゴルコス [8611] DataWest
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Hero is dragged into an alternative dimension in pursuit of woman named Daisy. This dimension is a battlefield between warrior girls and grotesque monsters who serve the Queen.
This is not really a game to reflect on. When I tried to make a longer video I encountered two H scenes right after that. It's more about cool and cute girls assaulted. Text parser is still used for game progression.
 
23. Lolita Hime no Densetsu ロリータ姫の伝説 [8611] Bond Soft
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An adventure to rescue princess Lolita trapped in a certain castle in Europe.
A kusoge from the creators of Time Secret and Time Tunnel. The evergreen text parser is present. This game was shocking as it introduced scat scenes for the first time in game history.
 
24. Seijo Panic 聖女ぱにっく [8611] Studio Blue
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The game picks up where the prequel ended. The "GOLD LADY" turned out to be a fake and the hero chases the girls to reveal the truth.
So five holy girls weren't already enough and thus here you with a sequel made just 4 months after that. Five more girls to assault. Game system pretty much the same. The ending is reported be kind of heartwarming, but I'm not going to check out with this kind of a game.
 
25. Gall Force - Eternal Story ガルフォース Eternal Story [861210] ScapTrust
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The game is based on the anime series. Gall Force is a unit of seven girls that reach the satellite and get on a mission to protect if from the Paranoids.
The game implements command selection (short list!) and looks absolutely gorgeous for pc88 game. I totally loved this game and would probably get to an end of it... but I found video walkthrough and thus I recommend it instead.
 
26. Maison Ikkoku ~Omoide no Photograph~ めぞん一刻 ~想いでのフォトグラフ~ [861210] Arrow Soft 1 2
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You are Godai Yuusaku. You begin the game in Godai's room no. 5. Now then, what should you do? First how about trying to get the beautiful Kanrinin-san of Maison Ikkoku? To do that you will want to enter her room right? And you can meet her face to face and drink tea... And after that you can take her hand and...
There are two reviews of this game with one being of yours truly.
 
27. Suishou no Dragon 水晶の龍 [861215] Square Co. 1 2 3 4 5 6
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The game is set in a science fiction-like setting, where the teenage main character must investigate a series of kidnappings and the mysterious dragon that suddenly appeared in outer space.
The game is released for NES and has multiple English reviews.
 
28. Little Princess リトルプリンセス [861225] Champion Soft 1 2 3 4 5
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The first game for Windows OS of Champion Soft (the later Alice Soft), contains pretty girl Miki and young warrior Kentarou trying to save her beloved one kidnapped by some evil guy.
The game has an English release for Windows and there are some English reviews of it.
 
29. Toki no Tabibito 時空の旅人 [861226] Kemco Corporation 1 2
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Based on the events of anime work with the same title. Time Stranger is the story of several teenagers getting transported back in time through Japan's history, and getting mixed up with samurai shenanigans.
There is an English review and a guide for this NES game.
 
30. Cream Lemon - Star Trap くりぃむレモン スタートラップ [8612] JAST 1 2
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The game faithfully follows the part 10 "Start Trap" of anime series Cream Lemon with some insignificant for the plot additional scenes.
The game does not really follow anime episode faithfully. The very start shows the battle with the robot. Then there are some everyday life scenes and then the H scene that I failed to get through even with walkthrough. The text parser is very painful even with a list of frequently used commands to the right.
 
31. Luna City Satsujin Jiken ルナシティ殺人事件 [8612] Bond Soft
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You play as detective in charge of investigation of Luna city mayor murder in 2216 AD. You have both male and female body with a single personality and can switch them on will.
The zapping potential is not realized here at all since everything important for the plot can be done with either character, but it's still the first zapping game. The personality is single between the two bodies, so it can't even be called multiple perspective one or multiple sites one. Otherwise nothing special.
 
32. Pop Lemon ポップレモン [8612] Champion Soft
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Game is a gag comedy. Main hero aims for a true pedometer. He sets on a journey to get "Eros", the source of power of lolicon.
I failed to get through the text parser, but there is actually a full video walkthrough at nicovideo. And there is too much loli dubious content to even try to investigate it.
 
33. Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu ~Asuka Hen~ 白と黒の伝説 ~アスカ編~ [8612] Soft Studio Wing 1
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The final part of the trilogy "Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu" takes us into the 199X-th year. Humanity is on the verge of extinction because of mysterious climate catastrophe. The city lays in ruins, food supplies running out, day temperatures reaches +50, and at night drops to -40 degrees. Rumor has it that all of these events are associated with the advent of the demons in our world and are signs of impending apocalypse. A group of brave heroes decides to use the last hope and goes into the mountains in search of a mythical temple, which according to legend hid all the answers.
The third part brings some point-and-click elements. This is hands off the darkest work of the trilogy and the most depressive one. And the ending here is quite miserable, so I fail to see the appeal in this final work.
 
34. Youkiden 妖姫伝 [8612] Hot-B 1
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Coming to rest on the nature, six friends accidentally stumble into the woods on a strange cave. For fun they decide to look into it and find there the remains of an ancient temple. That's a find! Inside the temple, the main character catches the eye of a beautiful comb - and she decides to take it with you as a souvenir. But as you know, steal things from the temple - a very bad idea. From this day girl nightmares every night, and her friends begin to die one by one.
"YoukiDen" became the first Japanese horror containing erotic scenes. Another notable feature of game is the abundance brutal shock-content - a scene, where a zombie samurai cut hands alive girl (and then raped her), made "YoukiDen" most brutal and bloodthirsty horror game of its time (however, this status from the game will last long, because a year later in the arcades will legendary "SplatterHouse").
The novelty of this work is that the screen is displayed as manga strip. There are 9 commands given for selection, but soon you realize that you need to manually enter other commands as well. It's not the first work to introduce eroticism together with gore (Christine had the same stuff), but the first one with such huge amount of it.
 
35. Soapland Story ソープランドストーリー [8612] Hard
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City nampa adventure.
There's nothing special about this work apart of the fact that it paved the way to future SIM mixes such as Welcome to the Cinema House by Hard later on. There are stats so it may even be called an RPG. The view is top down and the graphics are rough.
kivandopulus

Masterpieces of the year 1985 include:
1. El Dorado Denki
2. Karuizawa Yuukai Annai
3. Tenshi-tachi no Gogo
4. Abyss II ~Tears of Emperor~
5. Dezeni World
6. Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu ~Hyakki Hen~

So there are very few VNs in 1985 and even fewer account for masterpieces. Karuizawa Yuukai Annai was obviously a favorite after Horii Yuji won the previous two years, but the game lacks the mystery and fills it with lots of fanservice. El Dorado Denki gets a pretty devastating review. Tenshi-tachi no Gogo is an eroge that I would strike out if it weren't in the 80s. Abyss II and Dezeni World still use text parser. So why not Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu first title? The story is fresh and serious. There is only command selection. That's definitely not the worst option and a good read!

1. El Dorado Denki エルドラド伝奇 [8501] Enix 1 2 3
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A young Japanese man receives an unexpected call from his friend Akira in the middle of the night. He hurries to Akira's house, only to find him dead under unclear circumstances. Checking out his computer files reveals information about his sister, who was allegedly kidnapped. The trail leads to the mysterious land of El Dorado in South America, populated by tribes of Amazonekos ("Amazon cats"), who look like young attractive human females with cat tails. In order to solve the mystery, the hero must find a way to view tattoos adorning various body parts of the young ladies.
There are two English reviews on this game.

 

2. New Godzilla ニューゴジラ [8504] Toho
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The aim is to repel Godzilla and prevent the Soviet missiles from launching. The story is divided into three parts and proceeds according to the film events.
Again Toho, again Godzilla. The "New" in the title is set to mean the shift from child cartoons back to original horror. The plot actually follows that one of the movie quite faithfully. There are some real time elements included while searching. At the very least this time the graphics are tolerable and the drawing speed is fast.

 

3. Tokyo Nanpa Street Tokyoナンパストリート [8504] Enix 1 2 3
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You have to manage your stay at a local hotel and, during the day, use your wiles in conversation to snag a girl for the night. The most crucial phase of the game is the restaurant conversation you have with a date, which involves careful selection of options from a text tree.
There's no real plot, just these conversations with artificial intelligence. There are some numbers to take into account while talking, especially the money factor. There are 55 females in the game with only small differences about them. This game still is the founder of the whole genre and historically significant.

 

4. Karuizawa Yuukai Annai 軽井沢誘拐案内 [8505] Enix 1 2 3 4
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Kumiko and her younger sister Nagisa are spending their vacation in Karuizawa. One day Nagisa went out to the supermarket to do some shopping, but then failed to return to the villa they were staying at. Kumiko also receives a strange phone call later that night. With the police not being very helpful, Kumiko and her boyfriend (i.e. you) decide to take matters into their own hands.
This is actually the third work from the same people who did Portopia and Okhotsk detective stories previous years that became game of the years 1983 and 1984 from my point of view. There is enough English information on the work including the full review from an author whom I nearly worship for playing these old games these days.

 

5. Tankentai 2 - Makyou Amazon no Okuchi ni Kogane Densetsu o Mita! 探検隊第二弾 魔境アマゾンの奥地に黄金伝説を見た! [8506] DataWest
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Game is a parody on famous Japanese geographical TV show. It is reported that gold is found on the Amazon river with the aim of raising TV rating and expedition is sent there alongside TV unit.
This is the game that I failed to find rom for which explains why it's so obscure. Anyway, text parser is used and you need to guess not just the appropriate answer for the situation, but the best one to raise TV ratings of the program. Item collection is important. The whole location takes 6x7 squares, or 42 screens. The end TV ratings depend on the actions taken, so it was nice to compare results afterwards.

 

6. Tenshi-tachi no Gogo 天使たちの午後 [8506] JAST 1 2 3 4
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Tenshitachi no Gogo is an adventure game set in a Japanese high school. The goal of the game is to seduce Yumiko Shiraishi, the star girl of the tennis club. To seduce her, the protagonist will have to become acquainted and intimate with her friends by talking to them.
The ancestor of bishoujo games since before there were mostly lolicon games. And finally the characters are drawn really cute here. There is a list of commands to the right, but inputting your own is also allowed. The game is also notable for the glorious JAST sound. It's the shockingly good visual and audio quality that makes this game a masterpiece.

 

7. Abyss II ~Tears of Emperor~ アビス Ⅱ ~帝王の涙~ [8507] Humming Bird Soft 1
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In the year 3006, various organizations in the galaxy are searching for a legendary weapon known as Tears of Emperor. It is said that possession of this weapon will allow its owner to dominate the entire world. A criminal syndicate called Grimp has devised its own scheme for procuring the weapon. They kidnapped a well-known space explorer and infused his body with a tiny neutron bomb. If the explorer will not obtain Tears of Emperor for them, the bomb will detonate...
It's still text parser, but common commands are set to function keys. The graphics are much better. This is actually a work of high completeness.

 

8. Yellow Lemon イエローレモン [8508] PSK 1 2
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Yellow Lemon is a simple text-based simulation game consisting entirely of conversations with four school girls. The player has to type conversations topics and responses, hoping to increase the girl's "liking" parameter. Once it is high enough the girl would assume erotic poses and sexual relationship is implied. Afterwards the game switches to another girl for the same procedure.
Tenshi-tachi no Gogo released two months before really shifted the gears from lolicon games to bishoujo ones. Even the originator of loli genre PSK introduced older girls in this new game. It's not a real conversation that's used in the game since you don't really ask questions. You only get to answer them, so interrogation or a quiz is more appropriate. The reward is nude CG. At this time there was already EMMY artificial intelligence bishoujo software, so this game felt dated. There is an English review on the game.

 

9. Will: The Death Trap II ウィル デス・トラップII [8509] Square Co. 1 2 3
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President of the United States of America receives a letter with simple, but blood-chilling words: within the next twenty-four hours, the entire life on Earth will be annihilated. Specialists track the sender of the letter to a small island named Torinia somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Special agent Benson is sent there with the ultimate mission: find out who sent the letter, or prepare for the destruction of the world...
The game has enough information in English including one review.

 

10. Shiro to Kuro no Densetsu ~Hyakki Hen~ 白と黒の伝説 ~百鬼編~ [8511] Soft Studio Wing 1
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Story begins with an incident in a psychiatric hospital - at midnight the third floor of the building suddenly burst into flames. Reporter from the local newspaper arrived on the scene to write an article. After interviewing witnesses it appears that the fire started in the chamber of 301 - but the cause of fire remained unknown. Moreover, the patient of this chamber disappeared - even his body could not be found. After a long search, the reporter still finds the missing patient on the streets - but he just mumbles some strange prophecies. The next day, the usual trip on the train turns into a nightmare for our reporter: when the train enters a tunnel, the world outside the window suddenly begins to change and he find ourselves in a terrible alternative world. But all this is only a prelude to the coming apocalypse.
First game of Soft Studio Wing and MSX exclusive. MSX placed really harsh limitations on the games and thus very few colors are used. The drawing speed is slow. Pure command selection is used, so it's at least user-friendly. The game was later released as Desctruction series and better known as that.

 

11. Dezeni World デゼニワールド [8512] Hudson Soft 1 2
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This time the player is put in the role of an onscreen character - Dezeni Man, a fat dishevelled loser who bears some kind of resemblance to Hudson spokesperson Toshiyuki Takahashi (also known as Meijin Takahashi, who was also the main character of their Adventure Island series, although he denies the connection.) His goal - to infiltrate Dezeni World and disable the evil computer HAL3 (a parody of the HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, although in Japanese it's pronounced "harumi", a girl's name.)
There's a good English article on the game.

 

12. Lupin Sansei ~Cagliostro no Shiro~ ルパン三世 ~カリオストロの城~ [8512] Toho
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After a successful robbery leaves famed thief Lupin III and his partner Jigen with nothing but a large amount of fake money, the so called "Goat Bills," he decides to track down the counterfeiter responsible—and steal any other treasures he may find in the Castle of Cagliostro, including the "damsel in distress" he finds imprisoned there. However, as usual, Inspector Zenigata is hot on his trail.
RPG game based on animation movie of the same name. Player chooses Lupin or one of the other two heroes and investigates the castle. Scenes from the OVA are used for as title screen and demo screens. This game is obscure because in 1985 there was another Lupin III game with the same title but being an arcade and that game got much better spread and coverage.

 

13. Harry Fox ~Yuki no Maou Hen~ は~りぃふぉっくす ~雪の魔王編~ [8512] Micro Cabin
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Mother Fox died of hunger in the snowfall. Little Fox was found and nursed by girl Mari.
Basically they wanted to give slightly different story, just in winter aesthetics. Now we get to meet winter animals and birds and there's also girl Mari looking for the fox.
kivandopulus

The masterpieces of the year are:
1. Miko to Akemi no Jungle Adventures ,
2. Salad no Kuni no Tomato-hime ,
3. Eiyuu Densetsu Saga
4. Again
5. Jigoku no Renshuu Mondai
6. Hokkaido Rensa Satsujin: Ohotsk ni Kiyu
7. Corridor
8. Wingman
9. Time Tunnel
10. Zarth

First of all, Death Trap is not included in the masterpieces list because it does not feel exciting to me. But we're still left with as many as 10 masterpieces on our hands! Lots of novelties and good stories this year, but the VN of the year 1984 is Hokkaido Rensa Satsujin: Ohotsk ni Kiyu. And one of the reasons for that is that this work both used command selection AND allowed to use only a short list of commands. Another reason is that the game feels very realistic both in characters, dialogues and landscapes. The mystery is great as well since the three consecutive murders seem completely unrelated. No other work in 1984 is same engaging. It just feels like a professional AAA class game like no other game of 1984.
 

1. Abyss アビス [8401] Humming Bird Soft 1
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Events take place in 3001. You were in the middle of the confidential "ABYSS" space mission when got abducted by the Space Crime Syndicate and got memory erased. You need to know where you are and transfer coordinated to the mother ship in order to destroy Shinjigate Base.
Text parser is rather merciless. The aim is to destroy this space syndicate that succeeded in developing the final weapon. There's a full video walkthrough of the game.

 

2. Akujo Kamakiri 悪女かまきり [8401] CSK Research Institute
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Game is based on the events of the movie of the year 1984 with the same title. Fujimura Masako aims to get insurance money by killing Dojima with an electric cord while he takes a bath.
Game does not have much text and most of the time it's the items rendering one by one over and over. Text parser is used. Mouth of the heroine is animated. The furniture is totally unproportional and leaves a bad feeling of CG. She kills the man and leaves in the red car, probably just like in the movie.

 

3. Doukyou ~Kaisou Densetsu~ 道鏡 ~怪僧伝説~ [8401] CSK Research Institute
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Game is a fantasy based on legend of Doukyuu - a yokai of a mirror during 8th century (Nara period).
Historical erotic adventure with monks and mirrors. At least this time numbered choices are used instead of text parser.

 

4. Manji 卍 -まんじ- [8401] CSK Research Institute
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The wife is cheating on the man with another woman. The man tries to show his love to his wife by lying down with that woman partner. The original is a novel by Junichiro Tanizaki, and in 1983 the movie of the same name was produced by Toei.
The game begins with the scene where the wife, the hero and the wife's mistress are sleeping side by side and the aim is to lie down with the mistress without waking up wife, otherwise it's a bad end. Answers need to be input with katakana. So this is where NTR genre starts!

 

5. Office Love no Tehodoki ~For Lunch Time~ オフィスラブの手ほどき ~FOR ランチタイム~ [8401] CSK Research Institute
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You're a section manager of a company. So the only free time you have is lunch time between 12-00 and 13-10. There is a 23-year old colleague that can be targeted.
Each command wastes some 30 seconds of the lunch time. Command input made this game very difficult. There are very few common commands that are accepted. And there are even traps set like not extinguishing cigarette starts a fire.

 

6. Onsen Mimizu Geisha 温泉みみず芸者 [8401] CSK Research Institute
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A man and a geisha at hot springs.
Game is a part of Serious World game pack. There is both text parser and command selection. The aim is to get man's percentage and geisha's percentage to the top up from 0%.

 

7. Time Secret タイムシークレット [8401] Bond Soft
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You can go back and forth in time to different eras to solve puzzles. In addition there are battles and you have hp and attack stat as well as weapon attack stat. In Time Secret you need to discover the weakness of alien "Danak" race in order to save the colonial planet "Farras" in 2552 AD.
A very good SF implementation with a large number of screens (CG). Both command input and command selection are used.

 

8. Kidou Senshi Gundam Gundam Daichi ni Tatsu 機動戦士ガンダム ガンダム大地に立つ [840310] Rapport 1 2 3
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Game covers episodes 1 and 2 of the anime work with the same title.
Command input is used. Action is quite good, but commands are way too specific like get beamrifle, get namarme, catch sayla etc. Quite impossible to figure them out without walk through even if u seen that title. It's funny that the output is actually in English. There is quite much information on the game in English in the three links listed above.

 

9. Demons Ring デーモンズリング [8403] Nihon Falcom 1
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Crawley, the king of Jeremiah was destroyed by demon king Salone. Now that his son Dumrin is of age, he sets off to avenge his father.
Game is basically about mazes. That's what shows us opening of multiple corridors (I think the first opening in VNs, no music ofc) and that's how it really is. There are mazes of the house and of the undergrounds. Game uses new technology to render full screen in just one and a half seconds and this game is the perfect show off of that technology. That's why there are so many maze screens which would need over 10 seconds to render as of late and now just 1. That was quite revolutionary and it set a new standard for the new games to come.

 

10. Miko to Akemi no Jungle Adventures ミコとアケミのジャングルアドベンチャー [8403] SystemSoft
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Miko and Akemi went on a long-awaited African trip, but their airplane crashed. Now you need to lead them out of wild jungle with dangers on every corner.
Game features scoring system depending on how much you do before leaving the jungle. You need to escape the animals that you encounter. This game is one of the originators of command selection genre. It's possible to only select commands to beat the game. The drawback is that the number of commands is huge, some 30. But given the large number of screens that you need to go to the drawing speed is painful.

 

11. Keiko-chan no Himitsu 慶子ちゃんの秘密 [8404] Champion Soft
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Your tutor Keiko disappeared from the room. You need to find her to continue love lessons.
Searching games weren't frequent yet and it felt fresh. The item you need to find is placed randomly around the room so it's not enough to memorize location once. And there are a lot of such situations where you need to find something. Command input is only allowed in katakana.


 

12. Kaze no Tani no Naushika 風の谷のナウシカ [8406] Game Technopolis 1
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Game is based on the anime work of the same title. You manipulate main character Nausicaa with numeric keyboard, collect items, shoot, ride your vehicle.
There seems to be several different games for different platforms, but the game was so crude and ugly that there's a legend that the director Miyazaki was so furious that he banned gamefication of any of his works ever again. It was crude for year 1984. When I look at picture now I just wish I won't see nightmares featuring that. There's a nice article in English on it.

 

13. Nanako SOS ななこSOS [8406] Game Technopolis 1
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Game's based on anime work of the same title. There are a few mini-games in the game, one of which places Nanako against a giant aardvark in a yakyuken game. The aardvark gives her hints if she wins, but she has to strip if she loses. Nanako ending up naked results in a Game Over.
Characters ask you questions and you need to answer them in katakana. This is a game for hardcore fans of the anime that I've never even heard of (probably because it's old anime for younger kids). Native speakers reviewing the game had great trouble getting it through because of very specific anime-related command input.

 

14. Alice アリス [8407] PSK 1
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This is a parody on Alice in Wonderland. Alice opens a book, follows the bunny into the hole and gathers notes to decipher JAWON which is a key to get out of this world.
Quite a beautiful and entertaining work and also with many naked scenes - the price was as high as 8,000 yen at that time and the size was two diskettes. There's a lot of weird adventures like stealing a magical bra and giving it to the shady raincoat man. We even get to kill a dragon at some point. Command input in English characters is used and there's a walkthrough around, so it's possible to clear it even on emulator.

 

15. Ankoku-jou ~Souzou-shin Gyarian no Fukkatsu~ 暗黒城 ~創造神ギャリアンの復活~ [8407] Enix
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The game is an adventure part of the series of jrpg games. Dark apostle wants to become the ruler of the world with the help of legendary mirror of Laval. In this grand adventure featuring 9 chapters and over 460 split screens you need to defeat him.
It was the hugest adventure of the time, but gameplay was quite boring and lacked originality. Lots of screens are actually the variants of the same CG with minimal differences. There's very little text on top of that so screens change at very fast speed.

 

16. Salad no Kuni no Tomato-hime サラダの国のトマト姫 [8407] Hudson Soft 1 2 3 4 5 6
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The evil Minister Pumpkin betrayed his king, kidnapped his daughter, the lovely Princess Tomato, and began to terrorize the land of vegetables. The king entrusted Sir Cucumber with the task of freeing his daughter and his kingdom. Without further delay, the brave warrior embarks on a long journey.
This old japanese adventure was the first to be imported to the West and thus it's well known there. I'll only give some review links, but there is a great number of reviews for this game.

 

17. Eiyuu Densetsu Saga 英雄伝説サーガ [8408] Arrow Soft 1
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Dragon assaults village and girl is needed as sacrifice to calm him down. In order to help your sister you set off to find the holy sword and face dragon at the sacrificial site far in the north.
The graphics are superb compared to other games of this year. Also you only choose from commands instead of typing them. There is a good English review on this game. The game is fascinating even today. First of all, you need to make your map of use premade one by other users to understand where to go. Basically you need to move only by roads and explore the three caves scattered around. Caves can bring avalanche (instant game over), spider battle (winning is based on luck) or finding the legendary sword. And after that all is left is to discover that dragon. And there's a cheat - when you die it's possible to say a secret phrase and be resurrected with the legendary sword. Game's beautiful, because all the images are drawn elsewhere and then digitalized. The screen rendering is instant. Pure command selection in English is used. The game is definitely a masterpiece and the paragon to look up to.

 

18. Zarth ザース [8408] Enix 1 2 3 4
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In the 21th century, powerful computer systems were invented. However, the humans failed to control them. Near the end of the century, one of such systems, Orion, triggered a devastating nuclear war. A few survivors found a shelter and went into a cryogenic sleep. A hundred years later, they wake up and go out onto the surface, to face a new, unknown world...
Inferior technology (quite long screen rendering speed at MSX), but otherwise very impressive. People at that time could not believe that such beautiful pictures could be achieved with primitive MSX. And Zarth came 3 months earlier than Wingman. So the survivors of nuclear world war wake up 100 years later from cryogenic sleep. But now the regenerated Earth is in danger again - you need to go to the Moon space station and get rid of nuclear weapons. This game is often referred as Mirika, because everyone remembers the magazine ad with her beautiful face while Mirika appears in game only in opening and never again - such a bummer! Zarth should have been the final part of tetralogy, but first three parts were never finished. Good game with good action, but buried by inferior technology and manual command input. There is also quite much information in English available.

 

19. Jigoku no Renshuu Mondai 地獄の練習問題 [8409] Humming Bird Soft 1 2
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The main character is a lower angel who entertains an exam to become senior angel. It's a practice exam in the hell surroundings. You talk to different people in hell layers - Cleopatra, Hitler, Dracula, John Lennon, Napoleon, Merlin Monroe - walk around lake of blood and mountain of needles and answer the quiz.
Depending on your actions on the way to exit, you gain score. 60 is needed to pass the exam. If someone gains 100 points and sends the proof to the developer, his name will be published in the magazine. That was promissed. It seems impossible to gain 100 points, but imagine the competition! Game is short and tedious since you need to input commands manually. There's a very good English article on the game.

 

20. Shin Taketori Monogatari 新竹取物語 [8410] Cross Media Soft
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The game is a gag parody on japanese Taketori legend. The purpose of the game is to discover anything at any opportunity and have fun.
There are three difficulty levels and multiple endings. Game features some nude scenes. Slow rendering of every screen makes gameplay painful. Since it's a parody it's supposed to bring more fun for those familiar with all these ancient legends and folktales. A very original work taking into account multiple difficulty settings, multiple endings and possibility to enter characters in English, romaji and kana.

 

21. Shiro Densetsu 白伝説 [8410] Crystal Soft (old)
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It is the land of conflict. Red and blue people fight each other day after day. White people appeared - "We shall rule this land". Can you proclame leadership over the land as a white man?
Setting is horrible. And since you're being thrown into the game without even this little knowledge unless you read the manual, game looks like a chain of random events. You need to get to village elder and then revive some god after a maze of caverns. Everything else is optional, but there seems to be a lot of such optional secrets. Command input and slow rendering don't make things easier. The feature of this game is physical strength bar which depletes with every action, so taking notes required.

 

22. The Death Trap ザ・デストラップ [8410] Square Co. 1 2 3 4
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During the 1980-ies, the relationship between the free world and the socialist block became increasingly tense and hostile. Many countries began to prepare for a global-scale war, working on new weapons. One of such countries is the mysterious "B country" in Eastern Africa. Eager to seize power with biological weapons, an organization associated with this country kidnaps the famous scientist Dr. Gitanes. An agent named Benson is sent to B country in order to rescue the doctor and avert the new threat to world peace.
Some african "B country" kidnaps a famous scientist who can produce biological weapons and you're on spec op to rescue him. First game made by Square with scenario produced by future FF creator and the most financial successful game at that time selling over 500,000 copies. Command input still present, but screen renders from left to right and quite fast. Graphics is top notch for the time. Game features half screen as your outlook, half screen as map (always present) and text at the bottom. So what made this game so popular? My guess is the seriousness of approach. Serious story - briefing at headquarters - flight on a helicopter - using a parachute - map movement - two separate branches of how to get to the scientist - it all looks professional compared to amateur games of that time. Only Eiyuu Densetsu Saga had graphics same good, but had quite plain gameplay and weird screen sequence (like you get 5 slightly different pictures in color one by one, then the rest disappears and only main one stays). There is quite much information on the game in English.

 

23. Corridor コリドール [8411] Koei 1
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King sends three princes on a journey so that the prince who gets the most wonderful journey becomes his successor. The player prince is searching for the legendary cursed castle to become next king.
You get text and images (usually separately - one or another) and often get to make a choice among 1-6 variants. There are stats and lots of fights that rely on some real mechanic, not just luck. But most of the time we just read a wall of text. There are lots of bad endings as well.


 

24. Godzilla ゴジラ [8411] Toho
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Game is based on the first Godzilla movie. There are three parts - first you investigate the incident - then you pursue the monster and invent what to do with it and finally you confront Godzilla with oxygen destroyer.
Game's quite lackluster for year 1984 - still low screen rendering and still command input with ugly graphics. Toho games are the only ones that I can't load with emulator whatever modes or roms I try.

 

25. Kaitei Gunkan 海底軍艦 [8411] Toho
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Game's based on 1963 year japanese film about submarine. It is divided in two parts: first you search for an enemy with command input and then action based underwater battle.
Another Toho game. And this the rom is just impossible to find. Game's graphics done in basic so they are... both bad and slow to render and paint.

 

26. Wingman ウイングマン [8411] TamTam Co., Ltd. 1 2 3
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Kenta is a Japanese teenager who is obsessed with superhero stories. One day, he meets a mysterious girl named Aoi. She tells him she is from a dimension called Powdream, and gives him a powerful item called Dream Note, which can fulfill wishes. Kenta is eager to realize his dreams by asking to be transformed into a superhero named Wingman. However, the dictator Rimel fears that the new hero will endanger his existence in Powdream, and swears to get rid of Kenta by separating him from Aoi.
Wingman is a popular manga and anime hero. This is a story of Aoi, a girl who escaped her dimension to protect "Dream note". The hero of righteousness "Wingman" is to protect Aoi. There are four fights and after each fight you learn new fighting techniques, but loosing does not affect the game outcome. This is definitely professional level of work. CG, faces, battles, different weapons, constant use of sound effects. And the creator is Enix company. Now i know why FF series were a success. Because professionals from Square (The Death Trap) and Enix were there. Story is original side story of anime. The game actually has a full English review made at our times by the guy I next to worship for playing such old games nowadays.

 

27. Harry Fox は~りぃふぉっくす [841210] Micro Cabin 1
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Little fox child caught a disease called Romus disease. Mother fox remembers a story from old woman that a certain mushroom cures this disease and sets off on a journey to a Shinto shrine where those mushrooms grow. Mother fox encounters various dangers o the forest.
I've countered 10 animals, one hunter and a swarm of bees on the mother's way. Scenery is very bright, screen is rendered vertically and very fast like in Eiyuu Densetsu Saga. Text shows on the same screen as image and there are some really cute animals, including fox itself. Sound effects show up when needed and they're better than usual short beeps. Text parser with katakana input is used.

 

28. Again アゲイン [8412] Enix
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Heavens dweller needs to live 7 lives to become a Holy Spirit .There are 7 short stories. Each story is a life we live to become Holy Spirit in the end. All stories vary in gameplay: there is rpg story, surgery opperation, puzzle etc Finally all stories get connected.
The game takes multiple forms and is unique for that. That's a new level of storytelling - a conceptual work. There's a good video walkthrough.

 

29. Hokkaido Rensa Satsujin: Ohotsk ni Kiyu 北海道連鎖殺人 オホーツクに消ゆ [8412] Login Soft 1 2 3 4
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A corpse of a man is discovered at Harumi Wharf, Tokyo Bay (game features real geographical locations). The main character, police inspector, investigates the identity of the victim with his subordinate Kuroki and tracks the source to Hokkaido island. Second and third murder cases occur one after another. What's the purpose of the criminal?
Another murder investigation from the same authors as Portopia Renzoku Satssujin Jiken (1983). Screen renders slow but picture is made very simple to make the pace good. You get to choose from 9 commands, so tedious, but not too much. As for the story, what happens next differs with pc88 and later versions. A very realistic and persuading setting. I can see the appeal here. There is enough information in English on the game.

 

30. Time Tunnel タイムトンネル [8412] Bond Soft
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In Time Tunnel story picks up where Time Secret Ended. Your time machine collapsed and your are taken prisoner at space station. You need to use this planet Time Tunnel technology to go back in 2552 AD and fight off Danak invasion.
In these games you can go back and forth in time to different eras to solve puzzles. In addition there are battles and you have hp and attack stat as well as weapon attack stat. Time Tunnels has as much as 4 endings including a bad end. 140 screen splits. Command inputs and slow screen rendering again. On your time travels you get to meet some celebrities like Beethoven or Murasaki Shikibe. This is probably the first visual novel to implement multiple endings which are four in this game. And not everything is done with text parser here - directions are used to move around N S E W. The story of the game makes it a masterpiece, but it's next to impossible to play nowadays.

 

31. Lagrange L2 ラグランジュL2 [8412] Vehicle Software
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Federal military research ship "Gallia 201" was destroyed by a mysterious missile attack in area L-2 on the way home from Mars back to Earth. The only survivor escaped by jumping with a spacesuit in the open space. Out of pure luck he was found and dragged by nearby ship...
Wow, this game is so serious and difficult. Basically you wander at the space station with an aim to fly away on a spaceship. Some tasks are timed which is insane with command input. There are 14 scenes overall with each presenting some kind of puzzle.
kivandopulus

The masterpieces of the year are:
1. 
Joshi Ryou Panic,
2. 
Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken,
3. 
Star Arthur Densetsu I ~Wakusei Mephius~,
4. 
Mio no Mystery Adventure,
5. 
Dezeni Land.
The VN of the year 1983 is Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken, because it introduced command selection that was used for many years to come. It's a huge step from text parser. There was another revolutionary game Star Arthur Densetsu that introduced point-and-click elements for the first time, but the main part remained with the text parser there.

 

1. Lolita ロリータ [8305] PSK 1 2
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Lolita: Yakyuuken is a simple video game adaptation of yakyuuken, a Japanese parlor game that is essentially strip rock-paper-scissors. The gameplay involves pressing one of the three numbered keys (1, 2 or 3) corresponding to the rock, paper and scissors moves of the game, trying to beat the opponent's choice. All this is done while seeing a drawing of a young girl. The girl removes an item of her clothing after each successful round, and the player wins the game when she is completely naked. The player character has five symbolic clothes items, i.e. losing five rounds leads to a Game Over.
Game is made by one person in a week as a hobby to show to friends.

 

2. Lolita 2 ロリータ2 [8305] PSK 1
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It is a very simple text-only adventure in which the protagonist must track young girls after school and have them perform various actions (a few of them of a remotely sexual nature). The sparse descriptions are in Japanese, but the text parser is English-only, recognizing the four directions (N, S, W and E) and a few basic commands such as "Look" and "Use". Much of the game is spent navigating the protagonist through the invisible, text-only maze by typing the directional commands. A few items must be found and used in order to complete the game.
It's more like a bunch of mini-games with CG as reward. The aim is actually to assault 10 girls and not be caught by the police officer.

 

3. Joshi Ryou Panic 女子寮パニック [8306] Enix
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You infiltrate a girl's dormitory to try to find your kidnapped lover.
Game was innovative in a way that it did not have either command parser or command selection. It's just like modern visual novels - you select an action and game goes on to till the next branch. Game has time limit and multiple bad endings. That's a real masterpiece of its time.

 

4. Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken ポートピア連続殺人事件 [8306] Enix 1 2 3 4 5
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Kouzou Yamakawa, the president of the Loan and Savings Company, was found dead inside his mansion. Despite all the evidence indicating that it was a suicide, a detective (i.e. you) and his assistant arrive at the scene for further investigation.
The player must resolve the mystery of a murder by searching for clues, interacting with characters, and solving item-based puzzles.
There are at least four English reviews of the game.

 

5. Oooku Maruhi Monogatari 大奥マル秘物語 [8307] Nihon Falcom
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Main character is a female who comes to the inner chambers of Ooku castle in search of her master favor. She performs various tasks with the ultimate aim of giving birth to a child.
Game has both selection out of several variants close to modern visual novels and frequent command input sequences. The title has a huge "secret" sign encircled and actually it's really difficult to get what should be used where in this game.

 

6. Star Arthur Densetsu I ~Wakusei Mephius~ スターアーサー伝説 Ⅰ ~惑星メフィウス~ [8307] T&E SOFT Inc. 1 2 3
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In 3826 Jamil leads an invasion against Galactic Federation and destroys one planet after another. The main character Star Arthur is searching for the legendary sword to crush Jamil's ambitions.
Game is beautiful enough and occupies as much as three floppy discs. Most of the time you need to break free from a prison or some other secluded area, like a desert. Command input is used.

 

7. Mio no Mystery Adventure ミオのミステリーアドベンチャー [8309] SystemSoft
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You get caught in the rain and hide in the mansion. Upon entry you hear "I've got a present for you - It's your death!" Now you got to solve puzzles, defeat devil, the master of the house and find a way out.
Each room is a puzzle that needs to be solved with command input to proceed. There are also N S W E directions to keep in mind.

 

8. Lolita Syndrome ロリータ・シンドローム [8310] Enix 1 2 3
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Pretty girls live in the Maison Rolita. In order to make friends with the girls, you'll go play with them. They're waiting for you in rooms 1 through 5. Now, go into their rooms and play!
There's a good English review of it.

 

9. Dezeni Land デゼニランド [8312] Hudson Soft 1 2
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The aim of the game is to find a legendary treasure hidden in the Dezeni Land amusement park and safely escape. The game features numerous areas in the amusement park.
There's a good English review of it.

 

10. Ooi! Kaguya-hime ~Kinuginu no Wakare~ おーい! かぐや姫 ~衣衣の別れ~ [8312] Ponyca 1
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You're placed in a field of humongous bamboo filled with menacing birds. You might think the idea is to shoot the birds, but it isn't; instead, you have to shoot the proper section of bamboo before you run out of ammo or the birds hit you enough to end the game. Successfully clearing the stage causes the princess who is garbed in several layers of kimono to take one off.
The reward is erotic drawings. It's very surprising that instead of shooting birds you need to shoot proper section of bamboo and find princess there.

 

11. Star Arthur Densetsu II ~Ankoku Seiun~ スターアーサー伝説 Ⅱ ~暗黒星雲~ [8312] T&E SOFT Inc.
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The story picks up where part one ended. You obtain the legendary sword. A hologram of a two thousand year old wise man sends you to Orion with the newly obtained weapon and your adventures on the way there take the whole game time.
It features recognition of four parts on the screen for point-and-click and also has 3d shooting sequences. It could not repeat the success of the original game though.

 

12. Shijigen Shoujo Ridia 四次元少女リディア [8312] Champion Soft 1
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You are a member of science object investigation team and are on a mission to investigate the mystery of Bermuda. You end up in a parallel world and continue investigation.
Game was shipped on 4 floppy drives. Stereoscopic glasses are included with it which are useful for some scenes. That's really innovative - Champion Soft makes a remarkable appearance at that time already.
kivandopulus

 

I used to like VNs rated. To such extent that whenever I could not find an english localized VN review with a rating, I wanted to make a review with a rating myself. And usual vote ratings aren't reliable since anyone can vote for any rate, even having dumped the actual VN. As of late my opinion on this matter changed drastically. What a review actually needs instead of being structured one (like this my old review) is just to transfer impressions, VN core, noticeable flaws and afterthoughts. This way author does not need to retell the same things in several parts and review brings more useful information and wastes less time for writing. Majority of blog authors that I enjoy reading write in free style without ratings. At the same time ratings and some structure are almost always present in amateur reviews. Hence is the poll question. So here is my flawed structured review on the game that noone ever heard of and will certainly never will (and I'd never picked that out of free will). Some kind shepherd translated this VN into English, but never bothered to actually hack the game, so translation only exists as a word document. Now I know that it was not a good idea since there turned out to be some 100 branches with vastly coinciding text and a lot of confusion with search.

Foreword:  The novel under review is Anaheim Girl's Love Story by short doujin-maker studio Fan-na and it's here only because it miraculously managed to stretch the dialogues to 10 hours and because there appeared a person to actually translate all those talks and because the only review I found is fuwa-fuwa review on yurination with no score given - thus all three conditions miraculously coincided and here I am trying to figure what this game is about. I only appreciate platonic yuri relations, never ever watched anything of Gundam series and greatly oppose doujins and nukige - oh, well, that clearly puts me out of target group, but at least it's going to be unbiased.

 
Title: Anaheim Girl's Love Story

Original Title: アナハイム・ガールズ・ラブストーリー

Producers: Fan-na

Release Date: 2009-12-30 (English translation published 2013-02-10)

VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v6924

Game Type: Yuri story
Summary: A girls' love story between two Anaheim Electronics engineers. It also chronicles the development and construction of the fourth unit in the Gundam Development Project (GP-04 Gerbera), and its subsequent alteration into the Gerbera Tetra as seen in the "Gundam 0083: Stardust Memories" anime.
Story Length: Medium (10-30 Hours)

Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy

Comments: There is basically only one partner and all three endings are outcomes of decision what to do about her her.
Character Design Rating: 4/10

Story Rating: 3/10

Protagonist Rating: 2/10

Game Quality: Low

Overall Rating: 2/10

Rating Comments: Well, I do not know where to start. Story is plain, protagonist is baka-baka shoujo, all the photoshopped backgrounds and sprite models are crap.
Story: 80% of the game as nothing but small talk and 20% of the game is forced development in attempt to embrace events from Gundam 0083: Stardust Memories. The most exciting thing from those 80% of the game is probably sneak peek at Gundams  - Gundams have about 50% of overall game CGs and always drawn good. If only that quality could be spent on backgrounds and character sprites. I got only the general idea behind all the Titans, Federation, Gerbera Tetra, Zeus and things like that that i've zero awareness of so I see very little logic in actions of main characters and all the drama composed looks very forced.
Characters summary: So there are only two main characters, there's also Marion as a failed main character, two side-characters and a bot that plays probably the most important role in the game. Oh well there is also boss character and Chinese colleague girl, but those are mostly dialogue fillers.
 
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Saotome Rinne is just a baka-baka shojo character who has to be a protagonist and thus be an invalid without brain, without will and without wits. Well, most protagonists need to be this way so that the story could unfold in any way creators want. To reabilitate this characters creators nominated her twice as an annually best junior Gundam engineer. So forget that she's a no-brainer, she's just only good for engineering. Most of choices are phrased by her thoughts and thus look almost the same - Oh no, I want but i can't... I need to say no this time but... But, but... You can't always guess where she's actually going to get with this or that phrase. In the first 80% of the game her choices do not mean much anyway, whether she says yes or no she still gets laid.
  
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Sophie is our second main character. She's already an experienced engineer. Kind, reserved. But authors really needed a fast developement so there was not any space for acquaintance or roleplay. The very second time she meets Rinne, Sophie just kisses her right ahead. Senpai, why did you kiss me? Oh, well, I just wanted to cheer you up. IN YOUR FACE. Worst development ever
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Marion is a stub character. This is the only CG she ever got apart of one h-CG. Arrogant and sharp-tongued, just a generic bi@ch. Her only purpose for this game is small talk and attempts to avert Rinne from Sophie by temptating her.
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Haron is actually a swiss-knife of the game. He starts as just a cute robot mascot only saying "Ha-ron!" but as the game switches to active phase he just does everything because all the heroes are so useless. He spies, gives advice and even defends his masters. Whenever  autors needed some development, they just threw Haron in. Why do they even need all those various Gundam models when this omnipotent creature like that does all the work. Oh right, Gundams just look cooler and they can hold blasters.
 
Sexual Content: High
Between the small talk scenes heroines cuddle all the time with the very same HCG repeating over and over with only small adjustments. HCGs look very solid, but by the look at everything else it can be said for sure that they consumed all the budget and efforts. There's even kind of animated HCG scene in shower with every drop of water animated (the very single use of animation in the game)! That's the very spirit of doujin works - they only aim to make memories of HCG scenes.
 
Affection for the Characters: None
 
CG Score: 6/10.
CG of this game look very cool but sample CG are totally the same on every internet board because one thing - those are actually almost the only CG that game has. The game lacks not only non-h CG but even HCG get repeated over and over with just some small change. Out of five characters two secondary characters got zero CG and Marion who actually can be called one of the main characters since she has a h-scene and an ending featuring her - Marion got exactly ONE non-HCG and ONE HCG with two slight variations. So 50% of CG are hcg of two main characters and other 50% are pictures of gundams standing, gundams flying, gundams shooting etc. My biggest complaint is not really CG, but character sprites and backgrounds. Character sprites are surrounded by thick black marker which makes them absolutely artificial and literally drawn. All the backgrounds are just photoshopped real photos and thus leave very bad impression.
 
Music Score: 8/10. I dont really have any complaints with the music. There were some 30 variations of BGM, two with actual singing. Overall they vary by mood quite ok and do not irritate, but do not really affect the gaming process much.
 
Addictiveness: Low.
 
Conclusion: A must for all the yuri-lovers. A pass for everyone else.
 
Pros:
  • HCG are good
  • There aren't too many yuri VNs, especially this bold type
  • Gundam fans may be thrilled with such undercover of Gerbera alteration events
  • Game has 10 funny omake stories and seiyu freetalk
Cons:
  • Plain Story
  • Irritating background and character sprites drawing
  • Very random actions of heroes
  • Bland and clishe characters
kivandopulus

Blog purpose 

Well, I've been around VNs for about 15 years. As far as I can remember, my first game was MS-DOS Three Sisters Story, what we know now as San Shimai. At that time such games were the first erotic games along with Snake games and Poker ones and were referred as forbidden fruit. That game was a shock - what should have been a light experience turned out to be a really difficult story. All the characters were so nice that I really did not want to blackmail their father and looked for ways to stop my brother from revenge. Risa was so young that the only feeling I had was to protect her. The scene of fire and confrontation with brother was very well set. So what's the blog purpose? I'll get there... eventually...

So over this time I've played a lot of VNs, mostly in japanese with Translation Aggregator and sometimes with machine translation just because I missed VNDB appearance and kept thinking that TLWiki had the full list of english translated VNs... how I was WRONG. I've even looked through all the titles on Getchu just to pick several companies which art I especially liked. One of those games was Katahane by Tarte and I just played all games of that company since I'm kind of completionist (like I've watched over 1000 anime titles till had absolutely nothing left to interest me, watched all the doramas that interested me at d-addicts wiki etc etc) and those were very weird games, but at least I got a quite different outlook. So, the purpose of the blog? I know, I know, any time soon I'll be there...

So my purpose is to know absolutely all of VNs great stories. But I see some difficutlies in there (you see them too, right?). Anime has only about 3500 TV titles (and there's just a handful of really interesting OVA) and the majority of them have subs, so watching 1000 tv seasons of anime is not that big of a problem. So what should I do with over 20,000 novels of average 10 hours length with my still limited knowledge of japanese and greatly limited time? I've got and easy answer - just get rid of bad VNs and read good thorough reviews on the plot of good VNs. Phew, case closed... Well, not really. So the purpose of this blog... no, not yet! But I promise it wont take long!

So VNDB actually discovered the world of translated VNs for me but description tells us quite nothing about the game, only about the synopsis and no matter how many times i reread it, I don't seem to understand anything about the game. And discussions either show the everlasting 0 or some unanswered question and almost never a review, let along a thorough one. And since there are a lot of VNs there without the needed tags, I can completely miss some titles, which is inappropriate for such a completionist. Reviews are scattered around multiple blogs and forums and google tends to forget to render a great deal of them. Visual novels are virtually books, books = stories, that's the most important aspect of them and can't be ignored. So I really need a review section on VNDB. And since it might not come in our lifetime, I've promissed ( https://vndb.org/t950.310 ) to make my own vndb for reviews till such section comes to life. And here it is http://vndbreview.tigrimigri.com

Since I've zero experience with web design I had to use a ready solution - semantic mediawiki (and grind through that). There are quite some annoying technical restrictions which are gracefully avoided in VNDB and no beauties of custom css and such, but it does the job and allows me to gather reviews and show the result in a comfortable way. That's what really matters. Even though it's on a free hosting with free domain I really hope you can add some links of reviews and impressions in there as well since I can miss smth from 98,000 posts of VN talk in here.

And since I hate to waste other people's time here's my review of one of antique VN oddities Cosmology of Kyoto to make the whole post useful.

  

Cosmology of Kyoto 

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Foreword: Today's patient is Cosmology of Kyoto. There are quite a lot of English reviews of the game, but although the general idea behind them is overall praising - none actually gave any kind of evaluation score and that's something that i'm going to fix here.
Title: Cosmology of Kyoto

Producers: Soft Edge & Yano Electric

Release Date: 1993 (english version 1994-08-01 for Mac OS)

VNDB Linkhttps://vndb.org/v14314

Game Type: Unique eduactional story on Heian period in Japanese history
Summary: Step into the mind of an ancient Japanese person in the Heian period in ancient Kyoto. Live their fears, fight their demons, and understand their history and legends by actually experiencing them first hand.
Story Length: Medium (10-30 Hours)

Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy

Comments: The Story is more or less easy to grasp as there are only few actions that actually needed to be taken to get the endgame notion. What makes it this long is slow adaptability to interface, game mechanics and great the abundance of exploration options.
Character Design Rating: 8/10

Story Rating: 10/10

Protagonist Rating: 5/10

Game Quality: Varies

Overall Rating: 8/10

Rating Comments: I am most assuredly going to be blamed for setting such a low rating to a unique educational spiritual and revolutionary game for the time of its issue, but i believe i have some good points to support my choice.

First things first - mechanics of the game. Cosmology of Kyoto is and interactive adventure and most of the time we spend wondering the streets. Turning only allowed by 90 degrees. There are only three things that are worth mentioning here. We need a katana to defend from multiple vagabonds. We need to learn Sutra to defend from demons. We need special outfits to be allowed to special places.

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The example of extinguishing demons with Sutra

There are several other objects that have limited utility. Some items are just needed to be given to the right person. Money is good to learn rumors. Mirror useful to see what garments u have on. I've only found one utility for the bow - to shoot at flying kimono in one of the events, but there might be more.
 
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Nothing can surprise the inhabitants. Moreover some 80% of them turn out to be either demons or possessed.
 
Events, CG and animation are great but events and reading through encyclopedia take only couple hours of pure time, and the number of hours of seeking for anything on the streets take hours and hours. Game really takes it slow and that's something that contemporary consumer is not accustomed to.

Character Summary: There are only several named characters in the game and all of them are covered well by encyclopedia. Half of them are mad, the other half are priests and warriors who  actually help us defend from devils in some events. Protagonist has no character at all. Despite the fact that we create our body and face at the beginning of the game - with each death we're given a random body.

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The most useful character in game

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Encyclopedia is the single thing that's absolutely fabulous
Sexual Content: None
Comments: The only couple times the naked woman's breast actually appeared on the screen the woman was eaten alive or strangled to death the very next second. Those several women that actually showed interest in the protagonist were in a few minutes time decapitated/torn to pieces/cut through.
Affection for the Characters: None
CG Score: 10/10. The game actually looks amazing for the year 1993. Pretty much every creature and person is animated when you approach them close enough. The game boasts 256 colors and the actual picture still looks more or less decent.

Music Score: 5/10. I failed to hear any music. It might be due to the fact that i failed to find Mac PC to play in original and used DosBox for that. But as for voices, all the dialogues are voiced (but not the protagonist) and voicing quality is good.
 
 

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Some hell layer. Human eating his own brains is quite a mild example of what's happening there.
 
Addictiveness: Quite Low. When you beat the game since there are only couple dozen events in the game and apart of that it's just aimless wandering around the streets with an ugly interface and talking to beggars trying to know something new.
Conclusion:
Pros:
  • Unique atmosphere of medieval Japan
  • A well made built-in encyclopedia that holds information on all the locations, all the named characters, all the events background and what not.
  • Great events and actual pictures. I think i've seen about a hundred of different demons with their unique faces and bodies. The scenes and very vivid and memorable, especially those of seven layers of hell.
  • Game claims to be educational and contains quite a few historic figures.
Cons:
  • Most of the time is spent in aimless wondering
  • Game fails to exhort educational function due to the fact that all historical events are greatly folklorized and fails to play entertainment function since apart of rare events there's nothing really fun about it.
  • Interface and controls are very simplistic for the interactive adventure exploration game
  • Several bugs that make the game freeze. E.g. there are two cool old men, one 800 and another 900 years old who know absolutely everything in the world, but while speaking to them game always crashes.
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